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February 5 2013

EB-5 News

Canadian competition again?

There is a rumor that Canada may again open its popular investor immigration program, creating competition with the U.S. EB-5 program. There was a backlog of about 26,000 applicants for the Canadian program when it was closed in the middle of last year. The Quebec program may open for about 2,300 investors. Agents in China are soliciting investors for this program. I am told the minimum investment amount may be $2 million, which requires the investor to have $4 million in assets.

Processing times have slowed

USCIS has recently told me that the I-526 processing time is now 10 months! New regional center applications (I-924s) were taking about six months for initial review, but that time may be slipping. I hope to know in a few weeks. Some I-829s are slow in processing, and some are decided in six months.

One lawyer told me he has an adjustment application for an investor (I-485) pending a year, which is far beyond my experience of 4-6 months, and one I just filed was granted in 2.5 months.

USCIS Ombudsman meeting

The USCIS Ombudsman has scheduled a meeting on March 5th on EB-5 issues. I will be attending and discussing a number of issues, including the delay in deciding I-526s, I-829s, regional center I-924 applications and amendments, and our difficulty in getting answers to our policy questions.

EB-5 conference

A senior associate at Lawler & Lawler, Estelle McKee, was invited to speak at an EB-5 immigration conference in Miami, Florida. She discussed I-829 petitions and job creation. Her presentation was very well received.